Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man
It is common knowledge to every schoolboy and even every Bachelor of Arts,
That all sin is divided into two parts.
One kind of sin is called a sin of commission, and that is very important,
And it is what you are doing when you are doing something you ortant,
And the other kind of sin is just the opposite and is called a sin of omission
and is equally bad in the eyes of all right-thinking people, from
Billy Sunday to Buddha,
And it consists of not having done something you shuddha.
I might as well give you my opinion of these two kinds of sin as long as,
in a way, against each other we are pitting them,
And that is, don't bother your head about the sins of commission because
however sinful, they must at least be fun or else you wouldn't be
It is the sin of omission, the second kind of sin,
That lays eggs under your skin.
The way you really get painfully bitten
Is by the insurance you haven't taken out and the checks you haven't added up
the stubs of and the appointments you haven't kept and the bills you
haven't paid and the letters you haven't written.
Also, about sins of omission there is one particularly painful lack of beauty,
Namely, it isn't as though it had been a riotous red-letter day or night every
time you neglected to do your duty;
You didn't get a wicked forbidden thrill
Every time you let a policy lapse or forget to pay a bill;
You didn't slap the lads in the tavern on the back and loudly cry Whee,
Let's all fail to write just one more letter before we go home, and this round
of unwritten letters is on me.
No, you never get any fun
Out of things you haven't done,
But they are the things that I do not like to be amid,
Because the suitable things you didn't do give you a lot more trouble than the
unsuitable things you did.
The moral is that it is probably better not to sin at all, but if some kind of
sin you must be pursuing,
Well, remember to do it by doing rather than by not doing.
Ogden Nash's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man by Ogden Nash )
Did you read them?
- Life format, gajanan mishra
- Lonely On A Train, Omar Eldamsheety
- Stone, I do admit, gajanan mishra
- O Time, Stop You, It's My Birthday! Let .., Bijay Kant Dubey
- Release, Fiona Davidson
- Jacques the Last, John F. McCullagh
- Kaalchakra, The Wheel of Time, Bijay Kant Dubey
- The Moon Spoke to Me, Michael Mira
- Sinkin' boat, Aftab Alam
- Alesha the Cat, Steve Kittell
Poem of the Day
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
- DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- Heather Burns
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(24 January 1572 - 31 March 1631)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)